Mon, 13 Sep 2004

Jenny’s first century

Jenny in Spokane Autumn Century T-shirt Jenny did her fist century (100 miler), yesterday. We rode the Spokane Autumn Century together. The twenty-fifth annual event was organized by the Spokane Bicycle Club with many friendly, helpful volunteers and sponsors.

Every rider received a nice water bottle, seat bag, and coupons for some free, delicious food items. Thanks to the sponsors for the schwag! Among them: Two Wheel Transit, North Division Bicycle, Slick Rock Burrito, and Didier's Yogurt & More. T-shirts were available for an optional fee, which we elected, and we're really happy with them. They are navy blue, long sleeved, polyester, athletic T-shirts with a very nice design on the front commemorating the ride. They are, by far, the best T-shirts we've collected from such rides.

The cool (dare I say cold) drizzily weather for the first half or more of the ride was a challenge. Jenny doesn't tolerate the cold well, so it tested her mental toughness. She prevailed.

In the first few miles, the route descended a reasonably steep, winding road to the Spokane River. The road was rain slick. A woman ahead of me was braking hard to slow for a sharp right turn. I, in turn, had to brake hard to avoid overtaking her. As I was braking, I was thinking, Damn. Braking any harder would put me in a slide.

Just then, behind me, I heard a woman gasp then hit the pavement. More sounds of a crash followed. I pulled to the side and stopped forty or fifty yards down the road. Looking back, I could see riders piled up on the outside of the turn. Oncoming traffic had stopped and other cyclists were swarming around the downed riders, one of which was holding her head and either writhing in pain or trying to curl up and make her self a smaller target for any more riders headed her way.

There were a few anxious moments before I saw Jenny round the corner safely. Knowing she wasn't far behind me, I had been concerned she may have gone down in the fray.

Later, at a rest stop, I heard there were three riders involved with no serious injuries. Hopefully that is indeed the case and they'll be back on their bikes soon.

I got a wasp or hornet trapped in my helmet about the twenty mile mark. He had a good time stinging my bald head before I got stopped and released him. Then he made four or five angry dives at Jenny and I before leaving the scene. The little bugger had a bad case of road rage.

There were plenty of rest stops with food and drink. The best at a park in Deer Park—a small community north of Spokane. The route took us by that stop, twice. First, just before the half way point, then again sixteen miles before the finish.

At the first Deer Park stop, we were cold and tired. The only warmth we had was generated by the constant movement, especially the hill climbs. Stopped at the park, the heat quickly drained from us and getting back on the bikes was a challenge. The next few miles were tough.

Eventually, the rain stopped and we even got a bit of sun.

About the eighty mile mark, Jenny reached a point of near exhaustion. We stopped and she consumed a packet of GU she'd purchased last week at REI. That seemed to do the trick. Within the next few miles she'd regained her stamina and we continued to Deer Park for the final rest stop.

We had seen the same half-dozen riders at nearly every rest stop. We would pass them, they would pass us, but inevitably, we'd all end up an the rest stops together. On the final stretch from Deer Park back to Spokane, we saw them all, again. As we climbed some of the hills leading back to Spokane, we passed a couple of them. They passed while we were stopped over the top of one of the hills putting a thrown chain back on Jenny's bike. Then we passed them a final time on the last climb.

There were hot burritos and frozen yogurt waiting at the finish.

Next weekend, we ride the Tour Des Lacs, a two-day event. The first day we'll ride 85 miles with a cumulative elevation gain of 3500 feet that takes us around the south side of Lake Coeur d'Alene and into the city of Coeur d'Alene for the night. The next day is a 73 mile rolling route back to Spokane.

The forecast is for some of the same, cool, wet weather. Hopefully the weather will change for the better. We'd really like to ride in more pleasant conditions. But we'll take what we can get.

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